Friday, April 19, 2024

Speaker Johnson’s Ignominious Betrayal

By David Stockman - April 19, 2024 at 01:14PM

Speaker Johnson’s ignominious betrayal of fiscal sanity might well be the death knell for the GOP. He is apparently risking his speakership on behalf of $95 billion of foreign aid boondoggles that Uncle Sam cannot remotely afford, and which actually provide zero benefit to the homeland security of America. And we do mean zero, as in nothing, nichts, nada, nyet and nugatory, as we amplify below. 

What Johnson’s impending Waterloo means, therefore, is not merely the prospect of another wild and wooly succession battle, but actually that there is no point at all in the preservation of a Republican majority and GOP House Speaker. After all, the Washington GOP has become so infected with neocon warmongers and careerist pols who spend a lifetime basking in the imperial projects and pretensions of the world’s War Capital that apparently the best the House GOP caucus could do when it ejected the previous careerist deep-stater from the Speaker’s chair was to tap the dim-witted nincompoop who currently occupies it. 

The Republican party is thus truly beyond redemption. As JFK once said about the CIA, its needs to be splintered into a thousand pieces and swept into the dustbin of history. 

Indeed, when you look at the calamitous fiscal trajectory embedded in the CBO’s latest 30-year fiscal outlook, you truly have to wonder about what miniature minds like Congressman Johnson’s are actually thinking. That is to say, the latest CBO report published in March presumes that there will never be another recession and no inflation flare-up, interest rate spike, global energy dislocation, prolonged Forever War or any other imaginable crisis ever again—just smooth economic sailing for the next 30 years.

And yet, and then. Even by the math of this Rosy Scenario on steroids the public debt will reach $140 trillion at minimum by 2054. In turn, that would cause interest payments on the public debt with rates no higher than those which prevailed between 1986 and1997 to reach $10 trillion per year.

You simply don’t need paragraphs, pages and whole monographs worth of analysis and amplification to understand where that is going. The nation’s fisc is now on the cusp of descending into the maws of a doomsday machine. So how in the world do these elements of Johnson’s offering make even the remotest sense?

Speaker Johnson’s Foreign Aid Boondoggle:
Indo-Pacific aid: $8.1 billion.
Israel: $26.4 billion.
Ukraine: $60.8 billion.
Total: $95.3 billion.

Apparently, it’s because Johnson and a good share of the Washington GOP have succumbed wholesale to neocon paranoia, stupidity, lies and hollow excuses for warmongering. For crying out loud, Putin has no interest in molesting the Poles, to say nothing of storming the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. He is certainly no Ghandi, but well more than smart enough to recognize that with Russia’s GDP of $2.2 trillion and war budget of $80 billion there would be no point in going to war with NATO’s $45 trillion of GDP and combined war budgets in excess of $1.2 trillion.

Likewise, China’s $50 trillion debt-ridden Ponzi would collapse in months if its $3.5 trillion flow of export earnings were disrupted after attempting to land its single modern aircraft carrier on the California coast. And Iran has no nukes, no intercontinental range missiles and a GDP equal to 130 hours of US annual output.

So, some Axis of evil!

Yet that’s exactly what the Speaker said this morning after going to too many Deep State briefings and apparently having his own johnson yanked once too often. The Swamp creatures surely see the lad’s naivete and blithering ignorance as a gift that doesn’t stop giving. That is to say, a “mark” who knows nothing at all about the world from sources not stamped, “Top Secret (lies)”.

Speaker Mike Johnson: “We’re going to stand for freedom and make sure that Putin doesn’t march through Europe… we’re the greatest Nation on the planet, and we have to act like it”, This is a critical time right now, a critical time on the world stage. I can make a selfish decision and do something that’s different but I’m doing here what I believe to be the right thing. “I think providing lethal aid to Ukraine right now is critically important. I really do. I really do believe the intel and the briefings that we’ve gotten.

I believe Xi, Vladimir Putin and Iran really are an axis of evil. I think they’re in coordination on it. “So I think that Vladimir Putin would continue to march through Europe if he were allowed. I think he might go to the Balkans next. I think he might have a showdown with Poland or one of our NATO allies.

To put it bluntly, I would rather send bullets to Ukraine than American boys. My son is going to begin in the Naval Academy this fall. This is a live-fire exercise for me as it is so many American families. This is not a game, this is not a joke.

Needless to say, our dufus Speaker doesn’t know the “Baltics” from the “Balkans” where Serbia and other Russian friendlies are definitely not quaking in their boots about Putin. In point of fact, however, it is not hard to see that the civil war and territorial dispute between Kiev and Moscow over the Donbas and rim of the Black Sea from Mariupol to Odessa is a one-off of Russian and regional history and Washington’s mindless push of NATO eastward to Russia’s very doorstep.

The light-yellow area of this 1897 map gave an unmistakable message: To wit, in the late Russian Empire there was no doubt as to the paternity of the Donbas and the lands adjacent to the Azov Sea and the Black Sea. Already then, they were part of the 125 years-old New Russia, which had been assembled by purchase and conquest during the reign of Catherine the Great.

Indeed, it was only in 1922 that the yellow area—essentially demarcating the four provinces of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, which recently voted to rejoin Russia—was appended to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by the great humanitarian and map-maker, V. Lenin.

And yet Speaker Johnson now wants to crash the Republican Party on enforcing a map drawn by one of history’s bloodiest monsters. It’s come down to that.

That is to say, the war in Ukraine would stop tomorrow without another dime of aid from the US taxpayers if Washington agreed to partition the wholly artificial polity assembled by Lenin, Stalin (parts of Poland) and Khruschev (Crimea). In every presidential election in “Ukraine” since 1991 the electorate has essentially voted for separation via 80/20 pluralities in Novorossiya and Crimea for the pro-Russian candidate and 80/20 pluralities in the center and west for the Ukrainian nationalist.

That is, America’s national security would be undermined not one bit by a new map showing two countries and no war: That is, Novorossiya (New Russia) in the east and south, on the one hand, and the parts and pieces of Poland, Galicia-Austria and the Cossack Hetmanates in the center and west, on the other. Agree to keep NATO out of this rump state of Ukraine and it’s all over except the shouting.

Nevertheless, the insanity of the Russophobia which keeps knuckleheads like Johnson from having an even rudimentary grasp of the matter reveals an even larger issue. Namely, it explains why Washington’s hegemonic foreign policy is a dysfunctional disaster, which unceasingly spawns madness like today’s $95 billion foreign aid boondoggle.

To wit, it encourages the Empire’s client and allied states to take bellicose positions vis a vis Washington designated rivals and enemies because it brings aid to their treasuries, weapons to their militaries and prestige and self-importance to their politicians and diplomats.

Thus, would Poland’s rightwing politicians always be barking at Russia, Russia, Russia in the absence of its NATO membership and US military and diplomatic shield? We sincerely doubt they would be poking the bear, but instead would be seeking friendly accommodation with a natural trading partner.

Likewise with Germany. The latter was apparently so petrified by a rescendant Russia that as recently as 2019 it spent the grand sum of just $50 billion and 1.3% of GDP on defense, while quite logically fueling its booming industrial and export economy with cheap Russian gas.

What has changed since then is not remotely Germany’s assessment of the Russian threat. What changed is client state politics. The Green Party entered the government coalition with the Social Democrats by beating the war-drums because they saw attacking Russia and Russian gas as a way to promote their hideous crusade against fossil fuel. And they did so with impunity, knowing that Washington’s military shield had their backs.

As to Taiwan’s client state politics, it’s not even a close call. Announce that Washington’s archaic “strategic ambiguity” policy– left over from the time of two departed demons, Mao Zedong and Chaing Kai Chek—has now also departed into the “inoperative” realm of Nixon-speak and you wouldn’t need any “Indo-Pacific” aid boondoggles, either.

To the contrary, Taiwan’s leaders would be scampering to Beijing for discussions of a “Hong Kong” transition in short order. America’s homeland security, of course, would be no worse for the wear except for saving the cost of 100,000 servicemen in the Far East and the multi-trillion cost over time of patrolling the Pacific for the benefit of exactly what?

Then, of course, we get to the $26.4 billion for Israel. That’s about 4.5% of its GDP and should come out of its own war taxes, not Uncle Sam’s credit card. Moreover, it’s proof positive of the baleful impact of the Empire’s military shield and checkbook on client state politics. As we recently showed, Israel’s defense spending has been steadily plunging to less than 5% of GDP, even as its voters have repeatedly elected bellicose governments consisting of rightwing warmongers and fanatical religious factions.

These Netanyahu governments have consistently undermined a two-state solution to the Palestine problem, even going so far as to bless the transfer of billions of cash in suitcases to Hamas in order to undermine the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority. Likewise, Netanyahu has wantonly demonized Iran mainly for the purpose of domestic politics and as a means to assemble 60+ vote coalitions in the Knesset.

Absent the US Navy and Air Force shield in the region, however, no Israeli government would have ever conducted unending assassination raids on that country or sabotaged on Capitol Hill Washington’s attempts at constructive arrangements with Iran like Obama’s nuke deal.

Indeed, absent Uncle Sam’s $4 billion annual gift and even more valuable regional military shield, Netanyahu and his extremist coalitions would have needed to raise taxes massively in Israel in order to fund their Garrison State war policies. We doubt the Israeli electorate would have tolerated the true cost of Netanyahu’s madness for very long.

At the end of the day, what Washington now needs is a break-up of the GOP and the formation of a Peace and Freedom party from the remnants of the conservative GOP and the dovish left. Both have been ejected from the UniParty by today’s Republican and Democrat denizens of the world’s War Capital.

So perhaps Johnson’s hari-kari act will bear some fruit, after all. Not as he intended, but in the good way that American democracy desperately needs at this fraught juncture.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.
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